Presenting Pope Francis’ Letter to Families today, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that during these months “the family has been, more than ever before, in the mind and the heart of the Church.“
He gave examples including the pilgrimage of families for the Year of Faith, the Holy Father’s encounter with engaged couples on 14 February, last week’s extraordinary Consistory in the Vatican, the next Synod which will take place in October, and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, U.S.A., scheduled for September 2015.
“Pope Francis, with this letter to the ‘dear families’ of the world, wishes to involve them in the Synod path”, explained the Archbishop, adding that prayer “is the first form of participation in this joint path.”
“Families – and this is the Pope’s intention – are not simply the object of attention, but are also the subjects of this pilgrimage, given that they form a majority within the Church, and are marked by the Sacrament of Marriage,” he said.
He added that it is important not to forget that that spread of early Christianity occurred through a network of families. “It is an important lesson for our times, in which we invoke a new missionary season for evangelical preaching,” the archbishop said.
“The Pope asks Christian families to be aware of the responsibility of their mission in times of confusion and restlessness. He asks for their help. In addition, if there is a theme of Christian life, for which the support of the family is indispensable both to the Pope and to the Church, then this is it.”
“If there were no families, then Jesus’ Word – the word of the Church, the word of the Pope – on the married love which is able to open us up to God’s unconditional love for all, would appear abstract, unrealistic and ineffectual,” he added.
“But families, thanks to God, exist and have a living presence”, concluded the prelate. “Therefore, it is important for Pastors and families to live ‘in harmony in prayer’ in this time, as if in a spiritual Cenacle that gathers the whole world together, waiting for the Spirit to evoke a renewed Pentecost”.